XI European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education: save the date!

The Women and Science Unit of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Ministry of Universities, in cooperation with the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), the Spanish Institute of Women, and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), are pleased to invite you to the 2021 Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education: https://www.genderequalityconference2021.com/

The European Conference Gender Equality in Higher Education (GEHE) is an academic forum to communicate new research and analysis on gender and science. These conferences also welcome presentations on the development of gender equality policies as well as on the implementation of gender equality plans in research performing organizations (RPOs) and research funding organizations (RFOs). The topics of the Conference that include a new thematic area on gender, science and COVID-19.

The 11th edition of GEHE was planned to be hosted by the UPM, Madrid, in September 2020 but the pandemic led to postpone the event. The Conference will be online from the 15th to the 17th of September 2021. More than 200 abstracts were already received and evaluated by our international scientific committee last year.

The online edition will include different activities:

  • Plenary conferences by main speakers.
  • Oral communications in parallel sessions.
  • Symposia/workshops.
  • High-level panel as closing event at ETSI Industriales –UPM (live streaming).
  • Online networking activities.

Follow the news on #GEHE2021 in the webpage: https://www.genderequalityconference2021.com

Advancing in gender equality in Spain: the State Research Agency approves its first Gender Equality Plan

By Zulema Altamirano (Women and Science Unit, Ministry of Science and Innovation), Ángela Martínez-Carrasco (Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology), Victoria Ley (State Research Agency). Ph: Daniel Sone, Unsplash

In January 2021, the Governing Board of the State Research Agency of Spain (Agencia Estatal de Investigación- AEI) approved its first Gender Equality Plan (GEP) 2021-2023. As part of SUPERA, the GEP has been developed by the Strategic Group on Gender Equality (GEI-AEI), supported by the Women and Science Unit (UMyC) of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, one of the partners of our project. The GEP represents an effort to systematise and advance in the equality strategies and measures committed to in the Roadmap for the Development of the European Research Area in Spain 2016-2020, while integrating the measures already implemented by the AEI in its calls for proposals.

The GEP design is oriented towards the identification of needs and the implementation of measures to promote effective equality between women and men in R&I funding activities, which is the main mission of the AEI. The GEP includes objectives, specific measures and corrective actions, as well as the timetable for their implementation, which show the commitment of the AEI to promote effective equality between women and men in R&I activities.

Specifically, the objectives of the AEI with the implementation of this plan are:

  • To reduce inequality and under-representation of women in leadership, visibility, recognition and presence in positions of high responsibility in the R&I system, particularly significant in some scientific-technical areas.
  • To mitigate the consequences of possible interruptions in research activity due to maternity and caregiving, especially by young women researchers.
  • To promote the balanced presence of men and women in decision-making bodies and processes related to the evaluation and funding of R&I activities.
  • To incorporate sex and gender variables in proposals and to strength gender perspective in evaluation and monitoring processes.
  • To promote the careers of women researchers, by supporting the balanced presence of women in all activities arising from their research activity, including the leadership as Principal Investigators or their participation in evaluation bodies and processes.
  • To consolidate an organisational culture in the R&I system that is sensitive to gender equality and intolerant of discrimination and harassment based on gender, gender identity or orientation.

To achieve these objectives, the GEP includes, among others, the following measures:

  • To publish a report after the main award resolutions with sex-disaggregated data of the funding actions, among other indicators.
  • To analyse the success rate inequalities in the calls for proposals, identifying the possible causes and designing measures to reduce them.
  • To analyse the application and distribution by sex of the measures designed to mitigate interruptions in the research activity.
  • To design actions and training materials on gender equality and gender bias in evaluation for the staff of the AEI, the technical commissions and the evaluators.
  • To promote gender balance in the selection of evaluators.

The GEI-AEI will collaborate with the UMyC and the SUPERA project in the implementation of the measures included in this plan. In 2023, the GEI-AEI will carry out an independent evaluation of the impact of the GEP measures adopted, as well as additional measures carried out during the implementation period.

The AEI’s GEP is available in English at this link and in Spanish at this link.

2021-03-24T13:42:09+02:00March 23rd, 2021|Tags: , , , , , |

Decentralized pathways for the integration of a gender dimension in R&E at the University of Coimbra

By Francisco Rodrigues, CES-UC

The UC SUPERA team has been in direct connection with the rectorate from the beginning of the project, and more so since the transition from the baseline assessment to GEP design and subsequent implementation strategies.

Although central support and a reliable working relation are fundamental for the success of the project, this is not the most streamlined approach in the initial stages of implementation. The formal approval process is complex, requiring input from a myriad of relevant stakeholders and decision-making bodies.

For that reason, but primarily to create a decentralized platform that enables the development of specific solutions within the diverse contexts in UC, we adopted a sort of centrifugal approach. This means securing institutional backing at the highest level and leveraging it to capitalize on the various levels of autonomy within the University’s structures. The cornerstone of this approach are Focal Points for the main Research and Education Units, as they were nominated by the respective unit Directors following a direct request at a Senate session. Through capacity-building for gender mainstreaming, providing its members with adequate competencies and data on the institution’s state-of-play, such a network enables the detection and maximization of windows of opportunity for institutional change, not only at the Unit level.

As these Units enjoy scientific and pedagogical autonomy, the integration of a gender dimension benefits from this platform. Directly, it has so far led to the proposal of a seminar for final-year medicine students on gender biases in medicine (teaching, research and practice), as the Focal Point for the Faculty of Medicine identified a window of opportunity in the restructuring of that curriculum. Even though the current public health crisis postponed this process for a year, we are confident that the seminar will be integrated and work in tandem with ongoing parallel efforts in other contexts, while inspiring similar initiatives throughout the University.

Although that is encouraging, more tangible achievements have come from a different source within that decentralized approach. Shortly after confinement was imposed, we were contacted by the recently created Strategic Areas Unit, which sought to encourage female academics to apply for ERC grants. This team had come to us through the Focal Point of the larger Unit it is lodged in, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research.

Due to the nature of the Institute and the Strategic Areas Unit, they work directly under the supervision of the Vice-Rector for Research. This allowed for that initial contact to blossom into a fully-fledged for the integration of the gender dimension in the UC’s scientific outputs and subsequent betterment of its scientific production.

This initiative entails a number of activities: a EEA grant application for combatting gender-based discrimination; the gender-sensitive revision of research-funding applications produced in the UC; the construction of a repository of relevant resources and inspiring practices with regards to the integration of a gender dimension in research; a communication campaign for the encouragement of academic excellence of researchers of the underrepresented sex in various fields and the development of a training course on the integration of the gender dimension in research, directed to researchers on all levels and fields, designed to take advantage of existing gender competencies throughout the fields and enlarging the group of gender-sensitive researchers (first edition scheduled for mid-September). This cooperative relation is promising for sustainable gender mainstreaming in the University’s scientific activities, as it is grounded on top-level strategic commitment, as well as the devotion of the supervising research structure’s resources.

The instances described are illustrations on the benefits of a decentralized approach, particularly in topic as varied and difficult to implement as integrating the gender dimension in research. For the UC SUPERA team, the most relevant takeaway from this experience is that investing in the embracement of a large and diverse number of stakeholders is complicated, time-consuming, and therefore often frustrating, but gratifying when it is time for returns, as they signify impactful and structural change.

The Region of Sardinia includes the SUPERA project in its development strategy

By Simona Corongiu and Tara Marini, Autonomous Region of Sardinia

The Autonomous Region of Sardinia has included the SUPERA project in its Regional Development Programme (PRS) 2020 – 2024, giving it the highest possible political recognition at this stage.

In fact, the PRS is the regional programming document valid from 2020 to 2024 which, by defining the strategies and policies that the Region intends to implement during the legislature, makes the inclusion of SUPERA a clear political commitment on the part of the President of the Region and his Regional Government.

The document “The Identity that is built in acting to create value and sustainable development for Sardinians and Sardinia“, adopted with DGR n. 9/15 of 5 March 2020, is structured in 7 strategies. Among them a central role is assumed by Strategy 2 on research and innovation.

The PRS specifies that the priority objective of regional research and innovation policies is to ensure structural and human competitive conditions for the territory and to guarantee gender equality, in order to encourage full participation in innovation and development processes, which are now globalized and characterized by a continuous evolution due to the advancement of technological and digital knowledge.

In this context, the political decision-maker has planned to recognise and disseminate the principle of gender equality within the regional administration. In this perspective, the document also specifies that the implementation of positive actions will be guaranteed to ensure the respect of the above-mentioned principle, also thanks to the results deriving from the SUPERA project, within the regional policies in favour of scientific research and innovation.

In particular, it should be noted that the Regional Programming Centre will be required to implement a set of positive actions, identified within the Gender Equality Plan of the Region of Sardinia, which will promote gender participation within the programmes aimed at promoting research and innovation, in implementation of the SUPERA project.

The expected result is to strengthen gender awareness in the research world in Sardinia in order to achieve a real structural change and therefore a greater participation in projects and programmes by women.

2021-03-25T12:01:07+02:00April 2nd, 2020|Tags: , , , , , |

See you in Madrid for the SUPERA launch event

The Conference on “Structural Gender Change at Universities and Research Funding Organisations” will be held on the 16th November 2018 (9.30 h – 14.30 h) in Madrid. The venue is the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, in Paseo de la Castellana, 162.

(more…)